Kudzu is a plant belonging to the Pueraria genus in the family Fabaceae of the pea. It is a climber vine that coils as it grows. Kudzu originated in Japan and southeast China. It is a weed that grows quickly on trees, coils them and kills the tree by heavy shading. The starch of the plant finds wide culinary usage in the Asian cuisine.
In 1876, Japanese representatives displayed Kudzu in Unites States centennial celebration held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Kudzu was displayed as a object of huge exhibition for Japanese flowering plants. A Florida based plant nursery owner liked the plant; he took few Kudzus with him for research. Later Southern gardeners started to plant kudzu to protect the ground and to make attractive foliage in garden. At the time of depression, the US government employed people to plant Kudzu on farms to avoid soil erosion, The climatic condition in the South was much suited to the growth of Kudzu than the climatic conditions of Japan or China. Soon the vines began to grow at uncontrolled and extraordinary speed, which led to miles of important forest and farms converting into worthless land. Depending on this situation US government declared Kudzu as an official weed.
The kudzu roots hold starch, which is habitually used as ingredient in East Asia.
It is also called as Kuzu in Japan and the starch obtained from it is known as Kuzuko. Kudzu starch is used in preparing dishes like Kuzumochi, Mizu, Manju and Kuzuyu. Kuzuyu is a type of herbal tea made from Kudzu powder.
Kudzu starch is known as bot san day in Vietnam and is mixed with pomela oil to make a summer drink.
Kudzu flower is used to prepare jelly. Kudzu flower which usually blossom in late summers has distinctive fragrance and is used to produce a type of edible jam.
Kudzu is also cooked and consumed in China, where it is known as ge gen.
Researcher and scientist are working on Kudzu to develop a possible solution to treat alcoholics. Kudzu has also got components used for curing migraine and headaches. It is also advised for treating allergies and diarrhea.
Kudzu is also favorable to control some postmenopausal symptoms for women, like hypertension and diabetes.
Kudzu may be used to feed animals, as it is full of and edible to livestock. In southern United States Kudzu is typically used to feed goats, where there are limited resources.
Kudzu consists of fiber, which is utilized for making fiber art and basketry. The long climbers and vines, which grow on, the trees are outstanding source for weaving material. In Souther America Kudzu is also used in production of soaps, lotion.
In South America, Kudzu is know as predator for its destructive qualities.
Kudzu grows to 7 feet and more with in a week.
Kudzu is even known as 'The vegetable form of Cancer'.
It took about 10 to 15 years, to control a Kudzu patch- using chemical and herbicides.
It covered an area of more than 2.8 million of square km of the South America.